Once in a blue moon, there were two mountains who rested side by side. They had come to know each other very intimately and were strongly attached to one another. As seasons passed, the glacier connecting them began to melt and a river formed. It carved a gentle path between the two mountains. The river tickled and caressed their slopes and brought new life to both. Flowers bloomed and animals came to drink from the stream.
As more time passed, the glacier faded and the river grew, expanding and carving deeper grooves into the mountains. A valley formed between them where the river continued to flow, rising and falling in cycles. This valley brought much life and abundance to the land, but it also separated the two mountains who longed to be together once again.
There was nothing they could do to control the rivers flow, and so they watched in agony as it took its course. Still the mountains could not accept their fate. As their distance apart grew, so did their suffering. One mountain became filled with anger and resentment towards the river. The heat beneath him burned the soil and melted the rocks into magma. Soon his anger would be revealed in a burst of lava erupting from his core.
The other mountain was overcome with such immense sadness that brought floods of rain crashing down her flanks and feeding the river, which only broadened the gap between them. Her sadness flooded the valley and eroded the land. She too was slowly disintegrating.
In an endless cycle of anger, sadness, and separation, the fire-filled mountain burst with intense rage. His own blood and life force spilled over his slopes and into the river, killing all in its way. His anger brought death to the valley. As the other mountain witnessed the destruction of her love, her tears intensified, yet calmed the land that had been burned. It was her tears who made the other mountain realize how his anger only caused her more pain.
As for the river, it continued to flow unwaveringly and without hesitation. The two mountains sat in their suffering and gazed out to each other, witnessing the destruction they were causing.
Down the valley a woman walked carrying a small bundle in her arms and tears in her eyes. At the bank of the river, between the two mountains, she kneeled to the ground and raised the bundle to the sky. Wrapped in a white cloth was a baby, cold and breathless. The mountains watched as the woman weeped, cried out in prayer, and then silently placed the child in the river who was quickly and gently carried away.
The mountains had forgotten their own sufferings and trembled with compassion for this lost creature. The woman, feeling a strong presence, turned her wilted face towards the mountains. She witnessed the demise that rage had brought to one side, and the collapse that sadness had brought to the other. She then peered down into the river and saw the separation that this gentle yet resilient life force had created between the two mountains. Yet she was able to understand the separation.
In a calm and powerful voice the woman spoke. “Do you not see the destruction that your suffering has brought to the land? And for what purpose? Look at this river. It is limitless, effortless, and life-giving, yet you see it through anger and sadness because of an apparent separation. Look closer. Do you not see your own reflection and the reflection in the other rushing through these waters? Your soil is eternally connected and no river can separate you. If anything, it brings you closer. When your soils meet in the water, you dissolve together, boundlessly and eternally flowing where ever this river leads while nourishing the land and animals along the way. My child will too become one with this river and flow on and on, nourishing all it touches. When my child touched this water, I let the sadness be carried away with him. When your soil touches this river, allow your suffering to be carried away too, understanding your infinite union.”
The mountains absorbed her words and the truth within them. It was not the river that had separated them, but their suffering. To see beyond the suffering was to see the life that the river had created in the valley. How blind they had been. With new eyes they watched in silence and were filled with peace.
The woman bowed her head to the land and the river, then into the silence she walked. The two mountains breathed effortlessly and in the silence they remained.
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